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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2003 Week 11 Hansard (22 October) . . Page.. 3949 ..

MR QUINLAN (continuing):

89 per cent. It is pretty much on target. The story goes fairly consistently through priorities two, three, four and 000 calls that have been made to the police.

They don't deny that there won't be times when there are a spate of difficulties and some people won't get through to the police immediately, but we ought really have the decency to come in here and at least give the true picture and not a totally biased picture based on a couple of anecdotes. You can make any argument you like if you don't have the intellectual rigour at the base of the case that you're making. Let me say that the case that was made here is totally devoid of intellectual rigour inasmuch as you didn't bother to attempt to back it with hard data.

In terms of the response time, as Mr Wood, I think, advised the house earlier, police are now trialling a telephone system which will try to improve that; so they are in fact working on it. It is a problem that they recognise; it is a problem not necessarily associated with numbers; it is a problem that must, by its nature, be sorted out within the police force.

In terms of other backing for your argument, Mr Pratt, I think you used the Canberra Times. I think Ms Tucker quite rightly put that into perspective. I have to agree with Mr Hargreaves when he did, in his own way, pour scorn on some of the suggestions you have of dog patrols in suburban areas. I have to say I didn't think of attack rabbits, but I immediately thought of Inspector Rex or something of that order leading our police force.

Let me close by giving this place a repeat of the information I started with. Had the Liberal government been returned at the last election, the police numbers in the ACT would have been lower then they are today if there was any integrity in the election commitments that you made at the time.

MR PRATT (4.46): Mr Deputy Speaker, if I could just put the lie to Mr Quinlan's rampant, ranging, emotional attack on our motion by pointing out that in fact the Canberra Liberals, in their election promises in 2001, had indeed committed to provide funding for a fully committed and operational police force in the ACT. Of course you will run off now; you won't want to stick around for the heat. That policy said that the Canberra Liberals are committed to maintaining the standard of policing delivered to the ACT through the purchase agreement between the ACT government and the Australian Federal Police.

Mr Deputy Speaker, the Liberal Party was committed to maintaining, as a minimum, the status quo. The Treasurer has entirely misled this place on what the position of the Liberals was in the first place, and that is why he has had to flee this place-so that this matter couldn't be brought to his attention.

Mr Deputy Speaker, community policing, Mr Wood tells us, is not possible. Mr Wood is throwing in the towel; he is not even going to try to see how we might enhance the ACT policing system; he is simply throwing in the towel. He goes on to belittle the fact that, as he put it so colourfully-perhaps the RSPCA might want to make a comment about this-there could be an animal-led recovery to policing; that it was, in fact, a joke.

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